SNS use in individuals from Gen Z, emotional stimuli processing, and its neural correlates. Evidence from the functional near-infrared spectroscopy

Published: 15 February 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/zjh8nf6jx5.1
Barbara Gawda,


This project focuses on the comparisons of the processing of visual (tasks named SIE-T in dataset) vs. linguistic emotional stimuli (tasks named TRE in dataset) and the examination of neural mechanisms underlying this processing in representatives of the Z generation (i.e. born after 1995). we examined 57 participants. We aim to compare affective information processing in the two groups: 1st used SNSs to a very large extent (name of a variable: high SNS), and 2nd, those who use SNS elementary (name of a variable: low SNS). We hypothesize that people representing generation Z perform better visual emotional tasks (name of a variable: SIE-T) than linguistic tasks (name of a variable: TRE). Their emotional competencies such as recognition of emotions and naming affective events are high, however, those competencies which are based on visual stimuli such as recognition of emotions are better than linguistic emotional competencies. Then, based on the data on the association between SNS use and brain activation we expect that SNSs overutilization can differentiate emotional tasks performance and brain activation in persons from Gen Z. We expect there are the differences in activation of frontal, occipital, and temporal cortical regions between two groups, i.e. frequently used of SNSs vs. low use of SNSs. The several techniques have been used: The Scale of Emotional Intelligence - Faces (SIE-T), Emotion Understanding Test (TRE), The Social Network Sites (SNSs) Usage Scale (a variable was named SNS). Cortical activity was measured using fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) with optodes located in the occipital, temporal, and frontal regions. Occipital regions have been excluded from the analysis as the channels registered activation in the occipital areas did not meet the appropriate quality, i.e. we remove channels with a signal-to-noise threshold below 73% (SCI=0.80, PSP=0.10). All cortical areas activated during tasks performance (variables) are labelled as follow dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, frontopolar cortex, ITG –inferior temporal gyrus, MTG - middle temporal gyrus, STG - superior temporal gyrus, Wernicke’s area, Broca’s area, fusiform gyrus, temporopolar area, L - left hemisphere, R - right hemisphere. The file 1 contains raw data with data of behavioral measures. The file 2 contains NIRS data. The number of participants in the second file is lower than in the file 1 because we excludes some NIRS channels which had not appropriate parameters, and thus, some participants were excluded.


Steps to reproduce

Measures were obtained from three sources. First, participants were asked to complete a survey that captured their SNS use levels, demographics and descriptive variables, as well as inclusion-exclusion criteria. Second, participants completed screening criteria forms for capturing medical issues that may put individuals at risk in the NIRS cap as well as specific mental conditions. Third, two tests were used; Emotion Understanding Test and The Scale of Emotional Intelligence - Faces. Then, NIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) was used during performance of tests.


Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej




Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland